It has been great to see the UK government provide direct support to businesses and individuals through the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

This has proved massively successful in allowing people to enjoy local eateries at a much-reduced price, at the same time keeping cover numbers and earnings up for businesses and their staff, many of who have come off furlough due to this scheme.

More than £330,000 has been claimed by local businesses, which has provided much needed support for these businesses and the jobs they provide – and, as government figures published in the past week have shown, the scheme helped drive inflation in the UK down to 0.2 per cent in August, from 1 per cent in July.

As the winter approaches, we have already started to see a rise in Covid-19 cases, with new local and national restrictions applied. It is vital we all play our part in keeping the wider community safe, yet balance the importance of supporting local jobs and businesses.

Summer recess is over and we are now looking forward, yet most council business is conducted via Zoom to minimise face-to-face contact.

Overall, I feel internet-based meetings are more productive and provide better value to tax payers. Travelling expenses are reduced, as is the time, so I would encourage council business to keep this option open going forward.

I continue to make myself available to anyone who requires assistance, whether this be via phone, email, video call or socially distanced meeting.

It is important people feel they can still contact their local councillors and I know all my council colleagues are keen to ensure the people of West Dunbartonshire have the accessibility they expect.

Mental health has always been an important health issue, yet it is under provided for. Myself and Councillor Sally Page, driven by our MSP colleague Maurice Corry, have been working to establish a centre of excellence for mental health at the Vale of Leven Hospital.

This would allow people to walk in and get instant help and advice, like you would expect for any other health issue.

Unfortunately, Covid-19 has delayed progress, but it is still progressing and we will continue to press for this much-needed service.

Not only is it a benefit for many people, it is enhancing the services at the Vale of Leven Hospital and creating new jobs.

The more uses we can find for the Vale of Leven Hospital, we will build it and retain it.